Dustforce has a premise like no other. You star as an acrobatic janitor, making death defying leaps all in the name of cleaning. Armed with a broom and better moves than the cast of Cirque du Soleil, you’re a clean, lean fighting machine whose job is to jump between platforms, obsessively cleaning as you go.
During the course of the single player campaign (there are over 50 levels), you’ll start by simply learning how to finish levels. Then you’ll learn how to master them. You literally need to make a clean sweep here, because the whole idea of Dustforce is that it rewards perfection. It’s all about getting the best possible grades. And it’s not easy. In fact, it’s very hard. The control scheme, although fair, takes a lot of getting used to. Not dying is incredibly hard when you’re having to dance on the ceiling more times than Lionel Richie. That being said, the feeling you get when you have a near perfect fun is exhilarating, and that’s what Dustforce is all about.
You’re set in gorgeous 2D environments and accompanied by an equally gorgeous 8 bit soundtrack. Make no mistake, Dustforce is simply majestic on the Vita screen. The sporadically positioned dust enemies are the only hint of ugliness in a world so beautiful. The unnamed enemies (let’s call them Dustin Bieber) need you to give them a smack with your broom – not only to aid your combos but also to keep you in mid air, preventing you from plummeting to your death.
Your next enemy is the grading system. The grades are based on Finesse and Completion. Finesse is all about how well you maintain combos, whilst completion is decided by the amount of enemies that bite the dust. Completing a level with an “S” grade in both will give you one of three keys that will unlock other levels. Before each level, you also have a choice of choosing between 4 cleaners. Their different abilities are not specified, but are definitely noticeable. Some seem to jump higher, some seem to move quicker. I can only guess at their abilities, but like Dustforce itself, it’s all about a feeling. Also included is Multiplayer, which is a welcome addition, and of course leaderboards too. All in all, there’s a lot of potential to clean up here. So if you fail to keep a clean bill of health, dust yourself off and try again.
Dustforce is an adventure that some may find frustrating due to the demanding controls, but take the time to master Dustforce, and you’ll find a beautiful, engrossing journey that will sweep you off your feet.
Punk rating: 8/10